Despite having a GPS or a physical map, have you ever found yourself on your way to a destination only to get detoured or realize you must make a U-turn to get back on track? Or maybe once you arrive, realize that you forgot items you were supposed to have with you—like that casserole you made and left in the oven for a gathering.

This has certainly happened to me. And it can also happen during our sales efforts.

Picture this: You’re in the process (or on the road) of helping someone make a decision to work with you and something gets in the way. Maybe it’s a tangent that the prospect takes you on, maybe it’s an objection, or maybe it’s a resource they need to review for proof or understanding that you don’t have available then and there.

That’s why this series of articles, focused on Creating Your Roadmap for Sales Success, is so important. It’ll help you avoid or minimize those detours and U-turns. Instead, you’ll take the most direct route to help guide a prospective client through their decision-making to make a confident and efficient decision to get help by working with you.

In the first article in this series, I shared what a sales process is and why you should have one. Then in the second installment of the series, I outlined the stages or the milestones to map out your sales process.

This installment focuses on the components you should include in your roadmap under each stage to ensure completion, efficiency, and forward motion.

Component 1: Objective

The first component to include for each of your stages in your sales process is the Objective.

Define the outcome needed in this stage of the process so you know that your buyer has moved to the next stage in the process. Keep in mind this is not just your process, but their decision-making process as well.

A clear Objective centers everything else to help you know whether that stage is completed or not.

Component 2: Key Actions

The second component is one that advisors are typically very good at: outlining the specific actions—or the process within the process—for different stages, like onboarding or meeting prep.

A great starting place is to list the Key Actions that must be taken before, during, and after any interaction or any messaging and communication that is sent out. Listing the Key Actions also ensures that there’s a consistency of experience for the prospect, and that you cover what’s necessary for compliance or for the needs of that prospect.

If you’re fortunate enough to have a team, or if you’re planning on adding a team later, listing these Key Actions allows the entire team to know who’s doing what and when, thereby eliminating any gaps or redundancies.

In outlining the Key Actions, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. If you already have your workflow set up for different tasks, you can write, “Initiate _____ workflow” instead of listing all those tasks out again.

How Many Meetings Will It Take?

The Key Actions components of your Convert Stage is where you’ll outline the number of meetings in your process.

Are you going to ask for a decision during your first conversation? Or will you have an Intro Meeting and then build on it with a second Discovery Meeting where you’ll get more into what you’ll do to serve them and get a decision then? Or will you have a third meeting where you and your prospect review the recommendation and then reach a decision?

There’s no right or wrong number of meetings; the key is simply to outline how many meetings you’re planning for your process so that you can specifically identify what needs to be done before, during, and after each one.

Component 3: Buyer Commitment

What is the commitment, decision, or action that you seek from that prospective client at the end of each of those meetings? Clarifying that will allow you to make sure that you’re moving people along, or that you know that they’re not moving forward, so that you can address how to help them advance in the process.

This component, Buyer Commitment is all too often left out of advisors’ sales processes. This is where you specifically identify what the buyer must do or decide. That clarity allows you to know exactly where they are within the process.

Having this clarity also allows you to make more accurate revenue projections and helps you determine the proper follow up activity that prospect needs. Why is this important? Because often people have “happy ears,” and believe a prospect said something that indicates they’re moving forward…But have they signed the agreement? Have they transferred accounts? Have they completed a questionnaire that you asked them to? Have they brought their significant other into the next meeting?

All of these buyer actions are great qualifiers and indicators of that person’s engagement and interest and true willingness to move themselves forward and actually get help for their financial situation.

Component 4: Resources

The fourth component to include and outline for each stage is the Resources necessary to complete that stage. These may be either Internal or External Resources.

Internal Resources

Internal Resources are the items that you, or someone on your team, uses within the sales process. Examples are your workflows, templates, you CRM, or any other technology that you use to do your part of the sale and for onboarding and growing that relationship.

External Resources

Your External Resources are what is used with your prospective client. It’s what they need to keep confidently moving forward. Examples are the overview of your services, a visual aid, a PowerPoint presentation, a document, or an initial financial plan.

External Resources go beyond those items that you directly present to your prospect and also include items such as your website, newsletter, and white papers. External Resources are anything that supports how you work with clients, what you do, and what they need for themselves to move forward.

There’s More to Come for Your Sales Process!

Those are the four components of an effective sales process:

  • Objectives
    Key Actions
  • Buyer Commitment
  • Resources
    • Internal
    • External

Now that we’ve reviewed the What and Why of your Sales Process, The Stages, and the components, you have a great foundation – and there’s more to come!

In the next installment we’ll look at the hidden benefits of having a sales process, and then the final installment in this series will focus on how to use your sales process once you have it.

I hope you’ll continue to tune in and set your roadmap up for your sales success.